CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – The phrase, “NASA has reached a crossroads” is over used (to say the least) it is also inaccurate. NASA is at a standstill. It has reached this point due to mismanagement, the agendas of individuals and more importantly – politics. In 2008 NASA had a new direction, it was reinvigorated and – it was threatened. This was due to the “Vision for Space Exploration” that was, at that time, guiding the space agency, and was a hold-over of the Bush Administration. With Democrats now holding power, they decided to take a page out of a very old playbook.
In ancient Egypt when a new Pharaoh replaced an unpopular ruler, they would sometimes go behind and have the previous ruler’s name chiseled off of any artifacts. It was petty, predictable and one would hope – a bygone product of a primitive era. Sadly, similar activities took place within NASA recently.
At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a large illuminated wall decoration depicting various elements of the Vision for Space Exploration was removed. NASA placed a large image of the International Space Station along with the NASA meatball logo. But this was just a taste of what was to come.
Once Obama announced his intent to cancel the spacecraft that would follow the space shuttle, Orion, a political insurrection ensued. First, a “Constellation” prize of a stripped down lifeboat Orion was offered, to appease districts that Obama had to win when he went up for re-election. The president had made it apparent that he did not support NASA and was working to convert the shell of what would remain of the space agency into an engine for the Democratic Party agenda. Congressional leaders fought back and Orion was spared.
Still, it wouldn’t do to have this Bush-era survivor serve as a rallying point for those who went against the president’s efforts and the craft was renamed the Multi-Person Crew Vehicle, or MPCV. After a while the vehicle regained its original name and is now referred to as the Orion MPCV. But the president’s workers did manage to chisel one name free of the hieroglyphs – the Lunar Electric Rover (LER).
The LER has since been renamed the Space Exploration Vehicle or SEV – no I am not making that up – that’s really what they renamed it. Some will try to convince you that politics had nothing to do with these name changes and cosmetic alterations at all. A simple question bursts that bubble; ask them “When were these name changes conducted?” All of them were done after the president made his intentions for NASA known.
One would think that the White House would have more pressing concerns than such petty antics. One would think that NASA’s current leadership would wake up and smell the hydrazine leaking onto the floor and focus on securing the space agency’s future. One would think wrong. According to NASA’s Deputy Administrator Lori Garver NASA’s job is to promote world peace, create jobs, save the environment and end world hunger, everything to do with the mandate of any number of other agency’s, but nothing to do with NASA’s. NASA’s Administrator, Charlie Bolden thinks one of his agency’s chief missions is to reach out to the Muslim world and make them feel good about their accomplishments. Seriously? Is this what “hope and change” looks like?
Here is the thing. NASA needs to stay, at least somewhat, on the path that it is currently on. When the next president comes along, we cannot afford for he or she to yank the agency in another direction. The agency needs support and stability. President George W. Bush gave the agency a good mission – one he didn’t fund. President Obama has changed all of that, throwing away seven years worth of work and billions of taxpayer dollars.
Sadly, this paradigm does not appear to be changing anytime soon. We are a polarized society. A recent Facebook question if humanity would ever return to the Moon. The answers were primarily yes – the nation most mentioned was China. The U.S. was mentioned once. The statement? “The U.S.? – never.” The thing is, the person posting the statement is more-than-likely correct. The U.S. in its current state is not capable of accomplishing deeds like the Moon landings.
The U.S. is entering an era of near tribalism, where varying small factions stake out their tract of dirt and refuse to let go. When representatives from these factions gain power, they then work to erase what the opposing party has done. Where everyone is trying to grab a piece of the pie, where instead of striving for accomplishment, they are demanding entitlements. It is in this political environment that NASA is trying to survive. Only time will tell if such an amazing feat is even possible.Missions » ISS »